A group of lawyers under the aegis of Lawyers Arise for Justice has written to the Nigerian Bar Association to take a stand and declare action for the release of a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, at the Uyo Correctional Centre
The letter, which was directed to the President of the NBA, Olumide Akpata, on Friday, was signed by the Convener of the group, Tope Temokun, and titled, ‘INIBEHE EFFIONG: IS THE NBA HELPLESS IN THE FACE OF THIS IMPUNITY?’
The lawyers charged the NBA to be proactive in so far that it had noted that Inibehe was not granted a fair hearing before being incarcerated.
The letter of the group of lawyers read partly, “Yesterday (Thursday), August 11, 2022, Inibehe was moved, handcuffed, from Ikot Ekpene Correctional Centre, where he was held, to Uyo Correctional Centre, where he was forced to sit on the bare floor and have his head and beard shaved, among other degradations visited on him.
“The NBA took a swift step to the applause of all when this matter happened and it is worthy of note that the NBA was courageous enough to say it, that the Chief Judge did not follow due process in sending Inibehe Effiong to prison as he was neither docked nor given the opportunity of being heard, a violation of Inibehe’s constitutional right to a fair hearing.
“The NBA had taken the first step wisely to have sought the audience of Justice Obot on why the order should be reviewed. But having closed all doors of further audience on the matter, we are of the view that the NBA is a pressure group and the best time to invoke that pressure to save the integrity of the association is now, as we entertain a reasonable apprehension that if the NBA neglects to take this path of redemption, it may be the end of this association as a voice and force in the protection of rule of law in the country.
“We write to call on the NBA to take a more resolute stand as a matter of urgency on this impunity going on. We call on the NBA to take a stand on the brutal torture meted out to Effiong by the prison officials in Akwa Ibom State in violation of his fundamental right to dignity of human person and to protest the refusal of the court to make available the certified true copy of the judgment and the record of proceedings of the court, for Inibehe to be able o exercise his constitutional right of applying for a review of the order, even if it is through an appeal.”
They asked the NBA to: “Protest the brutal treatment and unconstitutional humiliation meted out to Inibehe in prison by calling for the investigation of this report for the purpose of bringing the officers involved to book, and;
“Call for a review of the judgment of Justice Ekaette on Inibehe for the purpose of releasing Inibehe from prison.”
The letter was co-signed by other lawyers, who include include: Samuel Ihensekhien Junior, NBA Bwari Branch; Marshal Abubakar, NBA Abuja Branch; Pelumi Olajengbesi, NBA Abuja Branch; Festus Ogun, NBA Lagos Branch; Rasheedat Akinrinde, NBA Ibadan Branch; E.D Akpala, NBA Ondo Branch; B.C. Obilor, NBA Akure Branch; B.O Williams, NBA Abuja Branch and Kariakitei Kokowei, NBA Akure Branch.